The worst technology jobs at banks in Asia (and what to do if you’re stuck in one)

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The worst technology jobs at banks in Asia (and what to do if you’re stuck in one)

Banks in Hong Kong and Singapore are hiring a lot of technologists right now. The four-figure headcount increases at both DBS and UOB over the past year were both driven by tech hiring, for example.

But that’s not the full picture. Some technology jobs in the two expensive Asian financial centres are still being offshored to markets like India and the Philippines. Which ones are most vulnerable to offshoring and what are some career alternatives if you work in them? Here’s a selection.

Back-office development

As a rule of thumb, many of the Hong Kong and Singapore development jobs that banks are moving overseas are back-office focused, says Vince Natteri, managing director of Hong Kong recruiters Pinpoint Asia. “For example, C# developers who are working on settlement or confirmation systems. These jobs can be sent to cheaper locations, or the bank could outsource them to an SAAS platform and eliminate them altogether,” he adds. “Back-office developers should try to move to a front-office development role, because banks like keeping these close to the onshore business, or to a fintech firm.”

Core Java developers

Banks still base plenty of Java developers in Singapore and Hong Kong, but the offshoring trend is starting to pick up. “A number of banks are moving their core Java development to cheaper locations where the supply of candidates is high and the cost low,” says Adam Solomons, Asia director of recruiters Hydrogen Group. “However, it’s a different story for good UI/UX Java developers. If you have core Java skills, you should focus on retraining in newer front-end JavaScripts like React and AngularJS.”

Identity access management

Cyber security is a hot job sector in Singapore and Hong Kong, but not all roles within the function are in demand. “Jobs in the identity access management area of cyber security are susceptible to offshoring,” says Romain Haimez, an associate at recruiters Prime Insight in Hong Kong. “These roles are technical in nature, so an increasing number of them are being moved to India and the Philippines. People in this role who find themselves out of work should consider a position as a system administrator or engineer.”

J2EE developers in trade finance and cash management

“Trade finance and cash management systems are not seen as high performance and therefore their development is moving to lower cost locations,” says Peter Barker, a senior director at Gravitas Recruitment in Hong Kong. If you work in trade finance technology, you’re advised to become a senior systems analyst. “Some banks are still keeping system analysts onshore to provide a link to the offshore teams and to work with them to ensure quality levels.”

Application developers

Do you develop and test software at a bank in Singapore or Hong Kong? Your job could be on the line this year. “Application developer roles are being offshored to India because of cost-saving measures and because India has a large technical talent pool in this area,” says Matthieu Imbert-Bouchard, managing director of recruiters Robert Half in Singapore. “These jobs could avoid being offshored if they require face-to-face interaction with the core business.”

Helpdesk support

An unsurprising inclusion on our list. “Helpdesk support roles are being offshored to save on costs, in particular to the Philippines,” says Imbert-Bouchard. “This is because most of them can be done remotely and the Philippines offers a large technical talent pool,” he adds. Your best hope of avoiding the axe? Work with the trading team at your bank, who typically need real-time nearby helpdesk support.

Image credit: Joel Peel, Unsplash

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